Gravel wheelsets aren’t always just “gravel” wheelsets. But, the ENVE G23 really is a gravel-focused wheelset with all the trappings you’d ever need for pure gravel enjoyment. They are light, fast and will transform any gravel bike into a speed demon.
ENVE G23 Wheelset Features:
- Features ENVE’s Wide Hookless Bead
- Built to run even lower pressures without pinch flatting
- ENVE Alloy Disc CL hubs
- Optimized for 40mm tires (28-50mm recommended)
- 25mm depth
- 23mm internal width / 31.5mm outer width
- Weight: 1305 grams (complete, stated)
- MSRP: $2550
Purpose-built gravel wheels
Upon arrival, the ENVE G23’s stood out with their matchy matchy graphics and good looks. The purple logos are a great example of their custom decal builder you can use to coordinate your bike’s color scheme. Of course, logos are skin deep, so let’s dig further into these gravel-focused wheels.
For starters, the G23’s are 23mm wide internally and 25mm deep. That shallow and wide rim profile allows ENVE to deliver some of the lightest gravel wheels on the market (heck, 1305g is wicked-light for road wheels). Yes, that light weight is part of the story, but ENVE has packed much more into these wheels. As is typical for ENVE, these feature a hookless bead that’s compatible with tubeless tires only. You can slip a tube in there in a pinch, but you’ll want to make sure to reference their tire compatibility chart for more details.
Tubeless setup with the WTB Raddler 700×40 tires was straightforward. I installed the tires, then added a little bit of soapy water and inflated them with the Blackburn Chamber Tubeless Floor Pump. I let them sit overnight and then added about 4 oz. of Orange Seal sealant. A little air, some shaking and everything was set. Throughout the two months of testing, this combination held air like a champ with acceptable amounts of air leakage when idle. For reference, at my 170 lb weight, I typically inflated them to 35/36 psi front/rear for my mixed gravel, road and singletrack rides.
The elephant in the room is the $2550 price tag. No doubt, the G23’s are on the high end of the price spectrum, but keep in mind that these are made in ENVE’s Ogden, Utah headquarters using their meticulous specifications. Chris King and Industry Nine hubs are available at an additional cost, but the ENVE Alloy Disc CL hubs roll plenty fast and smooth.
Great gravelly mavelly
As your planning a custom build or looking at a top-shelf gravel bike, these should be on your shortlist. The G23’s came standard aboard the 2021 BMC URS 01 One and I can’t think of a better wheelset to match that bulldozer of a bike.
Immediately, you’ll notice how fast these wheels respond. Quick road laps reveal just how responsive the G23’s are. Lateral stiffness is excellent and they spin up in a jiffy. My standard roll-to-stop tests put these wheels (with knobby tires) almost as good as I’d expect from a pure road setup. With a set of wide road tires, I’m sure these will roll among the best.
My most common rides are a mixture of road, gravel and singletrack. With these wheels, I could comfortably transition between all three. But, where these truly shine is on singletrack climbs. The light rolling weight and quick engagement enabled me to spank some technical singletrack that I’d usually ride on a mountain bike. Sure, the grippy tires and capable frame had a part in it, but you definitely notice how easy it is to react to the terrain and make adjustments at low speeds. Darting into that open line is that much easier with such a light wheelset.
Rolling along everywhere else, the wheels just disappear. Fast, chunky descents or rolling gravel are all zippy and efficient. At 25mm deep, crosswinds are no bother at all, but you’re not getting any aero benefits either, which seems like a decent tradeoff considering these will be used on windswept gravel races like the DK200.
Speaking of the tire-gobbling Flint Hills of East Kansas, the unique, Wide Hookless Bead on the G23’s ensures that impacts don’t destroy your tire sidewalls. It features a rounded design that spreads impacts over 8.5mm on either side. Throughout my time on the G23’s, I had a few full-on impacts and not once did I suffer sidewall damage or burping. That added thickness also contributes to the durability of these wheels, as I’d expect them to hold up for a long time. You’ll need that since ENVE always chooses to use hidden nipples, which require tire removal to true them up.
Another thing to note is that the clear coat on the rims is pretty minimal (likely to shave as much weight as possible). As such, you can see some of the fibers towards the center of the rims. I’ve seen this before with other wheelsets. I’m not concerned about it, but just know that you may see some sections that show the whiteness of the fibers.
- Oh so light
- Spin up in a jiffy
- Responsive and smooth-rolling
- Engagement is quick, making for easy on-trail adjustments
- Wide bead scoffs at pinch flats
- Carbon fibers are exposed slightly
- Wallet-busting price tag
The Bottom Line: ENVE G23 Gravel Wheels
As ENVE’s lightest 700c rim, the G23’s are no lightweight in terms of performance. I could confidently take these and abuse them for years on road, gravel and singletrack and they would simply keep on spinning. Tubeless setup was a breeze and the unique rim design both prevents flats and ensures long-term durability.
Buy Now: Available from ENVE.com
The ENVE G23 gravel wheelset is built burly, but they are also exceptionally light -- not usually something that goes hand-in-hand. But, as one of the world's leading wheelset makers, ENVE has nailed what could be considered the ideal gravel wheelset here. With that wide bead, the rims are exceptionally durable and pinch flats are non-existent. Tubeless performance is outstanding and an overall wheelset weight of 1305 grams is eye-popping.